For me, the definition of good design leads to four qualities that come together: the qualities of function, seduction, use and responsibility. Good design improves our daily life, makes it easier and makes people happier in all kinds of daily activities. Outstanding products have to accomplish every single one of those requirements to a certain extent.
In table and food culture, the primary focus is on seductive quality. Table culture has always been celebrated in different ways. Due to economic globalisation, individual product statements are changing; new forms are evolving for new life situations.
In tableware, the breaking up of the classic order continues. Over the last few years, globalisation has changed the form of eating, communicating and activities at the table. This development is met with constantly new responses from industry. From a classic Western manufacturing viewpoint, products are designed for international dishes, which results in further differentiation and specialisation for individual dishes and beverages.
Everywhere in the world, television cooking shows achieve some of the highest viewing rates, and cooking and eating together has increased in importance.
This is inspiring industry to launch new products for eating and cooking. There has also been a development from small to larger kitchens and, finally, to open-plan kitchens in recent years. The cooking process is brought directly to the dining area. A kind of Mediterranean flair has been established – distinguished by its flexibility and the courage to experiment with more playful product shapes. Where once the family silver used to be made by the same manufacturer, today various individually assembled product types can be found.
This development increases the importance of design in the household-goods industry. Design is becoming the decisive factor when it comes to successfully attracting customers and creating customer loyalty. In times of saturated markets, decreasing demand and constantly declining sales, the fight for customers and quality is harder than ever. Consumers ask for improved products, a larger range and an even faster, more personal service – preferably at lower cost.
An important innovative factor is the use of interesting materials and their combinations, such as the use of silicone in cookware. Due to its high heat resistance, temperature adaptability, insulation and noise-absorption, this material is ideally suited for cooking. These material innovations are the most important factor for manufacturing companies, since they are often the most crucial distinguishing characteristic in the fight for market share. Those who are not innovative and courageous enough to tread a new path will lag behind.
In order to sell good design and to fight against design imitation, a smart communication of a product is essential, too. More and more ruthlessly, product pirates copy ideas of successful companies that invest in design quality, and present them as their own achievements, especially in tableware and decoration, kitchen and households. This is due to the fact that these achievements seldom belong to more technologically leading products.
So tableware designers should keep in mind: successful design is also about effective communication. Good product design, which demonstrates quality and diversity, should be communicated to the public.
Every outstanding product from any sector deserves the best communication strategy in order to find success in the market. Entrepreneurial performance and confidence is not only reflected in sovereign product design, but also in its means of communication.